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That in the game of Pope Joan the nine of diamonds is the Pope, whom the Scotch Presbyterians considered a curse.
That it is a corruption of the phrase "Cross of Scotland." The nine "pips" on the card were formerly printed in the shape of a St. Andrew's
That the Duke of Cumberland wrote his inhuman orders at Culloden on the back of a nine of diamonds. (But the battle of Culloden was fought April 8, 1746, nearly six months after the date of the caricature before mentioned.) That a Scotch member of Parliament, part of whose family arms were nine lozenges, voted for the introduction of the malt tax into Scotland.
Ninth Beatitude. Writing to Gay on October 6, 1727, Pope says, “I have many years ago magnified in my own mind and repeated to you a ninth beatitude, added to the eight in the Scripture: Blessed is he who expects nothing; for he shall never be disappointed.'" (Roscoe's ed. of Pope, vol. x. p. 184.)
No Man's Land, a long narrow strip of territory lying west of the Indian Territory, north of Texas, east of New Mexico, and south of Kansas, over which, it would seem, the jurisdiction of neither of these extends, nor has the same been organized as a territorial government by the United States, although petitioned by its inhabitants to do so. It is also known as Cimarron. Locally, the name is also given to a strip of territory on the boundary between Pennsylvania and Delaware. According to the official surveys, it seems to belong to Pennsylvania, but by habit and custom of the people to Delaware, in which latter State its inhabitants vote, and where the title-deeds to its real estate are recorded.
There is a little uninhabited island called No Man's Land near Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. Another region sometimes called by this name lies in British South Africa. Being dispeopled, it was in 1852 in part occupied by Adam Kok's band of the Griquas, and hence it is often called Griqualand East, which is at a long distance from Griqualand West, the original home of the tribe. These Griquas (in their own speech this name is the plural form of Grip) are of mixed Dutch and Hottentot stock, and speak a dialect compounded of very mixed elements. The Basutos (of BechuanaKaffir stock) and the Ama-Baca (Kaffirs) also dwell in what was once called No Man's Land; but the country now contains many settlers of European race. Nobility, Our old. This once famous phrase occurred in the following passage from "England's Trust, and other Poems” (1841), by Lord John Manners, afterwards Duke of Rutland:
No, by the names inscribed in History's page,
These lines, which voiced pretty fairly the ideals of the "Young England" enthusiasts, and hence earned for the noble lord the title of Young England's Poet, raised a great storm. Some of the friends of Lord John strove to explain that nobility of character and not of caste was meant; but the context hardly bore out this explanation. In course of time the author grew properly ashamed of his production, and characterized it as the foolish work of his youth. He was, in fact, only twenty-two when the book was issued. It is curious to note that the obnoxious lines, written in all seriousness, had been very closely anticipated by a satirical writer just half a century previous:
We suspect that some of the old nobility may have instinctively exclaimed on reading these lines, Save us from our friends! The conflict of interests suggested by the noble renovator of his country is not only the most alarming, but it is also the least complimentary to his class that we remember to have seen stirred. It has sometimes been alleged that the nobility and landed aristocracy are careful of the interests of their order to the injury of wealth and commerce. But no demagogue that we have yet heard of has feigned an opposition between the aristocracy and "laws and learning." Here, however, one of themselves not merely insinuates the unfortunate incompatibility, but with great vigor and sang-froid takes up his ground in the controversy which he has raised. "Throw wealth and comsays he, "to the winds! Perish laws and learning! But save me and my order. At least so let it be in Young England.'"-North British Review, vol. i. p. 146.
Noblesse oblige, a French phrase, used only in the original, meaning, in Littré's definition, that "whoever calls himself noble should conduct himself nobly." According to Comte de Laborde in a notice of the meeting of the French Historical Society in 1865, the mot was suggested by the Duc de Lévis in 1808, apropos of the establishment of the nobility of the Empire, as the best maxim for both the old régime and the new. But in substance the thought had been uttered by so ancient an author as Euripides:
The nobly born must nobly meet his fate.
To feel itself raised on high, venerated, followed, no doubt stimulates a fine nation to keep itself worthy to be followed, venerated, raised on high: hence that lofty maxim Noblesse oblige.-MATTHEW ARNOLD.
Nom de guerre, a French term, meaning, literally, a war-name, is used as identical with pseudonyme, or pen-name, both in English and in French. The "fake" term nom de plume is English, but not French. A long battle over the phrase in the English Notes and Queries was finally referred to the French L'Intermédiaire, a periodical of a similar sort, which answered, "We do not know in our language the expression nom de plume, and there is no need of borrowing it from the English. We have the phrase nom de guerre, which is thoroughly French, and which clearly enough indicates literary pseudonymity. The very origin of this phrase is thoroughly French. Formerly a soldier in enlisting took a surname, which he retained so long as he served under the flag. It was a true nom de guerre. The extension is natural. Under certain régimes of self-will (bon plaisir) or terror, is not the literary arena a field of battle where one fights for his liberty or his life?"
Non-Interference, Doctrine of. The doctrine enunciated by Calhoun, that Congress had no right to interfere with the introduction of slavery in the States or Territories, or, as it was expressed in a resolution proposed to the Democratic National Convention in 1848, "That the doctrine of non-interference with the rights of property of any portion of the people of this confederacy, be it in the States or Territories thereof, by any other than the parties interested by them, is the true republican doctrine recognized by this body." The doctrine was levelled against the principle of the Missouri Compromise (q. v.), and, although defeated in the convention of 1848, it was embodied later in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.
Non mi ricordo (It., "I do not remember"). In the trial of Queen Caroline, one of the witnesses was an Italian who had been in her service on the Continent. When pressed by awkward questions, his answer was, "Non mi ricordo." The phrase has come to designate a conveniently forgetful memory. Under similar circumstances the answer of the Know-Nothings (q. v.) was always "I don't know."
One of the Tuckers, or possibly one of the Watsons, had Nolan in charge at the end of the war; and when on returning from his cruise he reported at Washington to one of the Crowninshields,-who was in the Navy Department when he came home,-he found that the Department ignored the whole business. Whether they really knew nothing about it, or whether it was a non mi ricordo, determined on as a piece of policy, I do not know.-E. E. HALE: The Man without a Country.
Nonsense. A well-known couplet of uncertain date and paternity asserts
A little nonsense now and then
It seems to have been known to Horace Walpole, who, in a letter to Horace Mann (1774), gives a side glance at it: "A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not misbecome a monarch." "Don't tell me," William Pitt said, "of a man's being able to talk sense; every one can talk sense. Can he talk nonsense?" William Wirt tells a friend in a letter, "I have always found a little nonsense a capital preparation for a dry and close argument." And it has been said of Charles James Napier, the hero of Scinde, that he found in humor a constant antidote to all the ills and vexations of life. If he was wounded, his spleen discharged itself in a jest ; if he was hurt or annoyed, the spirit of mockery burst into an uproar of merriment. "Nonsense will come," he once wrote to his mother, "and devil take me if I can stop for the life of me. ... What a great relief is nonsense to a man who has been working hard! I have a quantum in me beyond the ordinary run of men; and if it had no vent, my death would ensue from undelivered jokes. I am delighted to hear that you are so well, dearest mother, and that you bore the comet like an angel. By the way, no doubt exists in my mind that comets are the souls of good post-horses, who still ply their trade, carrying angels charged with despatches.'
Nonsense verse and prose. As a literary form, manufactured or intentional nonsense is a comparatively recent art in English. The French in the seventeenth century began the cultivation of a form of verse which they called amphigouri, and which in the eighteenth grew into extraordinary popularity. An amphigouri (a factitious word, probably made up from the Greek dupi, "on both sides"), was a bit of rhyme without reason,-a meaningless rigmarole in verse. An effort has even been made to trace the origin of the amphigouri to classic times, to the "Alexandra" of the Greek Lycophron. But, though that poem is undoubtedly obscure and enigmatic, there is no evidence to show that it is purposely meaningless.
Here is a good specimen of this form of verse which D'Israeli has copied from Colle's Théâtre de Société." In the presence of the famous Fontenelle it was recited at the salon of Madame de Tencin. So nearly does its nonsense resemble sense that Fontenelle was baffled. Let us hear that over again," he said; "I don't think I quite caught the meaning." "Why, you stupid," said Madame, "don't you see it is mere nonsense?" "Ah," was Fontenelle's sarcastic answer, "they are so much like the fine verses I have heard here that it's no wonder I was mistaken."
Qu'il est heureux de se défendre
Quand le cœur ne s'est pas rendu !
Par un discours sans suite et tendre,
Souvent par un mal-entendu
How happy to defend our heart,
When Love has never thrown a dart !
But ah! unhappy when it bends,
There is a fairly good English amphigouri which is sometimes attributed to Swift, but more often and on better authority to Pope :
SONG, BY A PERSON OF QUALITY.
Fluttering spread thy purple pinions,
I a slave in thy dominions,
Mournful cypress, verdant willow,
Melancholy smooth Mæander,
Swiftly purling in a round,
On thy margin lovers wander,
With thy flowery chaplets crowned.
Thus when Philomela, drooping,
Gilbert Wakefield, one of Pope's commentators, actually misapprehended the nature of the above composition, and complained at some length that the poem was disjointed and obscure.
It was not until our own age, however, that nonsense literature was brought to its perfection by Lewis Carroll and Edmund Lear, who still hold their ground against all imitators. It is true that the modern nonsense verses have some relationship to antecedent extravaganzas and burlesques; it would not indeed be impossible to prove a collateral descent for the "Book of Nonsense" and "The Hunting of the Snark" through the absurdities of the Anti-Jacobin," through Henry Cary's "Chrononhotonthologos" all the way back to the nonsense drama in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." But this were considering more curiously than befits a book of the present character. Taking them at their apparent value, the verses of the two whom we have named form a unique school in English literature, as delightful as it is unique. Is there in the whole world a better bit of pure nonsense than this from Through the Looking-Glass"?— 68*
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought,-
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
It was in 1846 that Edmund Lear commenced the publication of those famous little four-line nonsense verses which made his first fame. The form was not original with him. Mr. Lear himself in the preface to his third book, where he laughs at "the persistently absurd report" that the Earl of Derby was the author of the first "Book of Nonsense," is careful to acknowledge his indebtedness to certain nursery rhymes beginning "There was an old man of Tobago," which were suggested to him by a valued friend as a form of verse lending itself to limitless variety for rhymes and pictures. Though these "Books of Nonsense" were first made for children, grown men and women, if they have not quite lost in worldliness the hearts of children, delight in them no less than these, and return to them again and again with ever-fresh pleasure. In New Mexico not long ago the English owners of a cattle-ranch had for their trade-mark the picture accompanied by this famous posy:
There was an Old Man who said, "How
I will sit on this stile, and continue to smile,
What protean powers are exhibited in the variations on this simple rhythmical scheme! what humorous irrelevance, what admirable fooling!
There was an Old Man in a pew,
Whose waistcoat was spotted with blue;
But he tore it in pieces, to give to his nieces,
That cheerful Old Man in a pew.
There was a Young Lady of Sweden,
Who went by the slow train to Weedon :
When they cried " Weedon Station!" she made no observation,